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  • I was going to skip dancing this morning, but my body wanted to do it, so I jumped on my trike and went downtown. I liked shaking, liked the drummers, liked rolling around on the floor and kicking my legs in the air, walking my feet up the heated pipes along the wall. Okay, maybe I really am a hippie. I was singing "The Age of Aquarious" as I pedaled away.

  • I rode to State Street Fruit to get a ticket for a poetry performance, then read about Dickens and mesmerism at the bagel place.

  • The big poetry show was at the Academy of Music. There were slam poets I enjoyed, but the deep heart of it, for me, was Richard Wilbur. I got to hear him read poems I love, including this one.

    In which he says to his daughter, who is working on a story, about writing:

    It is always a matter, my darling,
    Of life or death, as I had forgotten.

    I'm needing nerve, focus, and flexibility. There are so many ways to keep getting there: movement, poetry and community among them.

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This is a poem I've just written, which I plan to read at the open poetry reading at the Yellow Sofa in Northampton Tuesday, 1/20/09. The reading starts at 6:30 pm.

Read more... )
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A poem by Mark Doty, which I have loved for a long time, has been used in a very ugly way. He's blogged about it here.

And, this morning, Mark posted a link to a fine post about the situation in the New Yorker blog, which included links to both the poem itself and to a gorgeous, illuminating essay by Mark about the writing of it.

All this has brought me back to his work (which wasn't hard, his amazing Fire to Fire: new and selected poems is one of those books that I keep sitting on the top of my filing cabinet behind me, so that I can easily reach it if I need to read poetry that will help wake up my language and clear my mind). I think that spending time with Mark's poetry is something that creates change in this chaotic world, or at least in the reader, in me. It's a good moment for that, for sure.

A while ago, I syndicated Mark's blog on lj, so if you'd like to read his posts on your friendslist, you can add it here.
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Poet Hayden Carruth died September 30. He was eighty-seven.

In 1970, he edited an anthology, The Voice That Is Great Within Us: American Poetry of the Twentieth Century, which was my introduction to reading poetry for pleasure when it was assigned in the first poetry workshop I ever took, my first semester in college, fall of 1979.

Here's a picture of my copy, and some poems.Read more... )
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Thought isn't words, not for everybody, but I love work of Ruth Stone. Here's one of her poems:

Always on the Train

Well, okay, and, Thomas Lux:

Render, Render
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Liminal Devotional

for omnia secula saeculorum...

Whereupon in service
go you or I, refrained against the light,
the show-through of texts upon the page,
geographies of stanza shape: these hymns
we broadcast in times less bright,
work as ozone, as

John Kinsella

Ah, and happy birthday, amarama!
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Thank you for your sympathies about Black Kitty's death. It's been meditative and helpful to read them. I do, I miss him.

Here's a link to an article in the New York Times about the late Ed Dorn with a picture I kind of love. I guess that there's a new collection of his work out. The older sister of my best friend in high school was a poet, and raved about her teacher Ed Dorn with such over the top admiration that he became one of the reasons that I decided to go to college at the University of Colorado. We all lived in a suburb of Denver, and one of her big selling points for Ed Dorn was that he knew The Ramones. Wikipedia says he was an early supporter of Devo, but The Ramones were the rock connection I heard about.

I took a bunch of classes from him, and found him to be kind of a mess, but also serious and oddly generous in his frequently absent way. His class on the Literature of the West changed the way I thought of that subject forever, and I almost fainted with pleasure when he read my paper on Carry A. Nation (the saloon smasher who later had a cameo in my novel Martha Moody) aloud to the class as an example of how such things should be written.

I agree with the reviewer -- my favorite of his poems are short, elegant love poems -- some of them are in my life for good, entwined with everything that happened for me in Boulder in the early eighties, but I don't see any online. Here's an excerpt from his long poem, From Gloucester Out. ("Man" as universal is all over it. Ed Dorn was like that.)

And, with that, I'm in a work crunch before heading out to Budapest, so may not be posting much for a while. Or I might, because I sometimes find lj hard to resist. And there are things to say about Budapest, and the beautiful support I've gotten around that trip, but, for now, it's just a clear, heartfelt thank you to those who have been so generous. And to everyone who reads here with an interest in my work.

Last night

Apr. 17th, 2007 04:39 pm
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I went to a beautiful event last night: Daniel Hall reading from his new book, Under Sleep. It is, I think, a book of elegies, and there's a poem under the link. I can't wait to read the whole thing.

Afterwards, I stood around just outside the door with my pal Judy, which turned out to be kind of a perfect place to talk and watch people spilling into the damp night.
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Saw Charles Simic read at Smith last night. He was unassuming and funny, and I liked his work. (One of the poems he read is behind the link.) Also, he said that the last time he had read in Northampton, it had been a long time ago, at Jonathan Edwards' memorial service. This was a joke, as Jonathan Edwards was dead in 1759 (and, well, actually, died in New Jersey), but it pleased me that this good poet said his name, even as I watched people in the rows in front of me turn to each other, asking who he was, and then shrugging.

Also, Lesléa and I saw the Poetry Bus, with exhausted and travel grimed poets trying to sort through poetry books on the grass. The part that usually holds luggage on a Peter Pan or Greyhound was open and full of books. It didn't look that fun, but the bus with "POETRY BUS" painted huge across its side was pretty great, and they'll be reading around here at various spots today and tonight, and then moving on to NYC, Philadelphia, etc. There's a picture of the bus at the links if you scroll down.

I'm editing to add: the poets were looking very wiped out and possibly sick of it all, but if anybody ever asked me to go on a poetry bus tour, I would SO do it. Poetry! Bus!

Good writing with Sally yesterday. And I have a bunch of squash, chard, kale, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, parsley and tomatoes from my love's garden.
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Praise for the fat old ladies.
Praise our bristles.
Praise our groaning in the morning
as we negotiate our nightgowns,
appliances and pills.

Praise the unquenchable carnality
of our coughs, full of moist depths,
and the way our mouths hang open
and our faces converge in gatherings
of ineffectual concentration
as we give another round of dominoes
our (impure? because, after all,
competititive and human) best thoughts.

We lose, of course, but play again.
The nightgown tears on the seam above the breast,
but we wear it, still, unmended,
while young women make big curls
in their hair with juice cans,
the results glossy and time-consuming,
as if the war were never over and
victory gardens were all lucky girls might sow.

Lake Buchanan, TX 2006


Apr. 21st, 2006 08:31 am
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I went last night to a reading at Smith to honor Adrienne Rich, a poet whose work has pushed and thrilled and changed me more than I can say, and, I think, through my failings, not enough. Sometime I might try to write something about what her poems mean to me, but right now, I just want to say that some of her friends were there, too, other poets -- they were referring to themselves as three sisters who grew up in the women's movement, and their younger brother. Adrienne talked a little about relationships between poets (which I always hear as artists of all kinds), what that's been like for her, why it matters. Made my heart thump. Each of the other poets read one of Adrienne's poems that had mattered a lot to them, and one of their own.

Joy Harjo read "Diving into the Wreck," from the book by that name, and sang -- so hauntingly -- her own very beautiful poem, Grace.

Ed Pavlic read "Trying to Talk to a Man," also from Diving Into the Wreck and I didn't get the name of his poem, but there's some beautiful work of his at the link to his name.

Cheryl Clarke read that unbelievably painful and necessary poem, "The School Among the Ruins" , which is about children at a school during a time of bombing, from her most recent book, The School Among the Ruins, and also a poem of her own (not this one) inspired by picture in the New York Times of a woman holding up a photograph of her sister, killed as a soldier in the U.S. military action in Afghanistan.

As a lot of you already know, there is such urgent, beautiful work to be found through these links.

Size Queen

Aug. 2nd, 2005 07:22 pm
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The new zine came today, it's exquisite. There is such a feeling of courage and tenderness about it, from the beautiful, glossy paper and visual excitement to the amazingly dense, varied and -- what? -- full content, there's so much to this zine, so much in it, it's a gorgeous, rare and precious thing.

I'm about to order four more copies. Money is tight around here, but gifts like this don't come along everyday, and I've been watering the tomato plants that my lover gave me for my porch every day because I want those ripe tomatoes falling off into my hands. Same principle applies here. Plus, I keep thinking of people who I need to have read it so I can talk to them about it.

I haven't read the whole zine yet -- no way I could have! So much abundance! -- but here are a few of the things I already love:
Read more... )
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They've announced the winners of the Publishing Triangle Awards, for which I was a judge in poetry. The number and range of outstanding books of poetry by queer men was especially exceptional -- in addition to the finalists, I'd mention Voluntary Servitude by Mark Wunderlich, which I've written about here before, More Than Peace and Cypresses by Cyrus Cassells -- here's a link to the stunning title poem -- and Nothing Ugly Fly by Marvin K. White.

Special congrats to my friend Alison Smith, whose memoir, Name All the Animals, won in the nonfiction category.
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Her poem, "The Fifth Fact," has won the People Before Profits Poetry Prize from Burning Bush Publications. It will be posted on their web site by the end of June. Sarah rocks.

It's an interesting site, and I noticed that they had a lot of calls for submissions listed that I hadn't seen elsewhere, so writers might want to scroll down the list of links on the left of the home page and take a look at that section.
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[ profile] nishgyrl made a post with a poem, the same, which starts with the possibility of peeling farms off with teeth, and goes on with that kind of scraping precision from there. Check it out.

There is more very sharp and lovely work on her website.


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